Microsoft Dynamics 365: A Cloud-Based Integration of CRM and ERP
On 6th July 2016, Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource which bring under a single cloud-based platform; the powers of ERP and CRM. Microsoft Dynamics 365 will be leading the next step ahead in business transformation, providing efficient ways to employ modern communication technology for business needs.
Deemed as a ‘transformative-centric’ release, the Microsoft corporate VP for enterprise and cloud Takeshi Numoto points out that Microsoft Dynamics 365 empowers customers to “encourage innovation, increase collaboration and ultimately achieve more with the power of intelligent business apps”. Two versions of Dynamics 365 are available: Business Edition (for small businesses) and Enterprise Edition (for enterprises). While the SMB Financial suite will reside in the Business Edition, Enterprise Edition will house the full Dynamics AX suite for financials. Those who are already using Dynamics CRM online or Dynamics AX online can also seamlessly transport to Dynamics 365. A Common Data Model will coherently order the business processes. Highlights include integration with Office 365, Cortana Intelligence and Power BI as well as LinkedIn (procured by Microsoft for over $25 billion in 2016). Azure stands as the uniting infrastructure for Microsoft Dynamics 365.
With this launch that asks the users to “rethink what’s possible for your business with intelligent business apps in the cloud”, the customers don’t have to make additional payments for capacities like workflow automation, predictive insights and visualization. The four major ups of using Dynamics 365 include reduction in the expenditure of IT management, lowered risk due to easier compliance, optimized business processing and strong structure of data recovery/backup. How will Microsoft Dynamics 365 follow through its motivations and aims? Here are the three primary features which inhabit Dynamics 365:
- Office 365: The Intersecting Point of Structured and Unstructured Workflow
At the most basic level, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a software that integrates the present ERP and CRM solutions into a singular cloud service. It is populated with apps which are purpose-oriented and thus, help to manage particular business functions like operations, financials, customer service and sales.
There are two types of workflows within a business: the structured workflow includes business apps while the unstructured ones include those of productivity and coordination. These two intersect and function smoothly within Office 365. Here is an instance:
Suppose a salesperson is responding to a quote enquiry through mail. With Dynamics 365 and AppSource, the salesperson can create a quote using the information provided by sales and financials apps. This information can be transferred to the desired app where discounts and pricing can be fixed. Ultimately, the quote can be prepared and sent through Outlook.
- Cortana Intelligence and Power BI: The In-House Counselor
Microsoft is attempting to embed Redmond big-shots Cortana Intelligence and Power BI within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem. This will allow customers to gain analytical insight into their business workings. With Cortana Intelligence on the team, sales representatives will receive cross-sell recommendations in sync with the services and products customers require. Customer service issues can be prevented by linking asset supervision and defect detection. Once such a link is established, the field service agents will be armed with predictions allowing them to have a proactive approach towards customer problems.
- Microsoft AppSource: One-Stop Destination for Awesome Apps
Business users can use AppSource for trying out SaaS apps sourced by Microsoft and its partners. With over 200 business SaaS apps, content packs and add-ins, AppSource holds consumer package-goods companies, financial institutions and government agencies as its primary target audience. Government organizations can automate incident reporting, feedback and resolution through AvePoint Citizen Services while financial institutions can use Veripark Next Best Action to guide their individual clients adequately.
Challenges to Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft has its paramount rivals in Oracle, Salesforce and SAP along with some others. One of the main challenges for Microsoft is to sustain the kind of transformative integration it has focused on while launching Dynamics 365.
Can we see Microsoft’s integration of CRM and ERP as a platform play? Leave your comment below.
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